Sound and Vision: The Sennheiser Orpheus is luxurious audio at its best

Sound and Vision: The Sennheiser Orpheus is luxurious audio at its best

Sound Vision Sennheiser Orpheus

OPINION: Earlier in March I used to be given a tour of the Sennheiser Headphone manufacturing unit in Tullamore, Ireland, and whereas I used to be there I used to be given the chance to take heed to the Sennheiser Orpheus HE-1.

Now whereas I wouldn’t say that I’ve some kind of audio bucket record, the Sennheiser Orpheus has all the time been a kind of audio merchandise the place I questioned if I’d ever get the prospect to take heed to it.

Named after the Greek God endowed with superhuman musical abilities, at £60,000/$60,000 (if no more) it’s not a product the place entry to it’s straightforward, although another person on the journey mentioned they’d already listened to it twice earlier than. The Sennheiser Orpheus is one thing of a sacred hi-fi object. Only a poor style in music might presumably desecrate it, however such is its capabilities that it might take advantage of soporific of songs sound fascinating.

And like all costly items of package, there’s drama to its unveiling. Turning the Orpheus on is basically theatre with some misdirection thrown in. The base is a strong block of Carrara marble (sourced from Italy), with an electrostatic headphone in a see-through compartment on high with dials that push out from the fascia, and valve tube amplifiers that rise from the marble block. It’s just like the rocket positioning its engines and preparing for launch.

Sennheiser Orpheus in the flesh
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The misdirection is that the valve tube amplifiers want a while to heat up and prepare, so all that theatre is there to get stuff within the background up and operating, which on first start-up takes a couple of minute.

You’re given the headphones that are large however comfortable, the design of which seems to be like a prop from out of a Tarsem Singh movie – and then you definitely sit again and permit your self to be transported away.

Now, a few of which will come throughout as hyperbole. It can’t be that good, it’s too costly, and so forth, and sure the Orpheus might (or can) be very nicely these issues when you come at it from a sure perspective. What do I care, my £50 headphones do the trick for me and so forth.

But a part of the enjoyment about luxurious audio is that it’s ostentatious, foolish but additionally an excessive amount of enjoyable. In efficiency phrases the Orpheus sounds terrific – it sounds easy with its heat sound; that’s inviting and wraps round your head like some kind of sonic cosy. It performs simply as nicely at quieter and louder volumes, by no means sounds as if it’s straining and vocalists sound as in the event that they had been standing in entrance of you. Best of all, you cease pondering and simply hear.

Sennheiser Orpheus valve amplifiers
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That’s what the perfect audio merchandise do. They disarm and transport the listener into the music, to not some distant vantage level the place you’re pondering and analysing. I’m not an enormous fan of Daft Punk’s now remaining album in Random Access Memories however the wealthy, soulful efficiency the Orpheus elicited from the vinyl album made me need to take heed to it once more in full – however in all probability solely on the Sennheiser Orpheus…

A visit by The Beatles’ Revolver album was equally illuminating (and had me bopping my head to Yellow Submarine), as was a take heed to Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain. Whatever the music style, the Orpheus fleshes it out in a wealthy and rewarding means.

Sennheiser Orpheus and me
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I solely spent an hour with it, however everybody else on the tour might have simply spent loads extra time listening to it. It’s a particular product, put collectively by one particular person (whats up Damien!), which takes him about two weeks to place collectively earlier than it finally ends up as a 21kg product put by acoustic, mechanical, and electromechanical checks earlier than it will get shipped to its new proprietor.

We by no means learnt who purchased a Sennheiser Orpheus, however they’re a fortunate particular person. Such merchandise don’t come round usually, which is quite the purpose, and after they do, you’ve bought to get pleasure from them from an uncynical viewpoint. After all, music can do many issues, and considered one of them is to place a smile in your face, and that’s what the Sennheiser Orpheus HE-1 does – so long as you’ve bought £60,000/$60,000 in your pockets.

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March 24, 2024 at 01:06PM

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